The classic tale of a woman who swiped right on a typical, good-on-paper man, who needed to be educated on some of today's most critical issues.
I recently matched with this guy on Tinder and he looked promising: 32, loved to travel, worked out regularly, owned his own home renovation business. For obvious reasons, let’s call him Bob the Builder. We had a couple of phone conversations before our first date and found out that we jived pretty well. Then at our first meeting, we strolled through a quaint downtown Toronto neighbourhood, stopped in at a Mexican restaurant and a games bar and kissed and touched at every opportunity. Like I said: promising.
Except for one little thing. When I asked Bob if he had a problem with me paying for our drinks because he looked uneasy when I pulled out my credit card, he said no, but that men typically should pay because they make more money. Factually, the second half of that statement is accurate. In Canada, women make about 74 cents for every dollar that men make. But then he went on to say that men deserve more money because they ask for more money. My response was curt. “Men have been taught that their work is worth more money and that they’ll get a favourable result when they ask for something,” I said. “Many women weren’t raised in the same way. Men’s work is not inherently worth more than women’s work.” I thought my statement was pretty obvious, but his eyes widened, and I could tell I had completely rocked his world. “You’re right!” he exclaimed. “I never thought about that before.” If ever there was time for a facepalm, that was it.
I decided to give Bob the benefit of the doubt because he seemed like a nice guy who mostly had his life together, and we had physical chemistry. And in case you’re happily married and haven’t dated in a while, that's hard to find!
But then I received the second blow a few days later. After wrapping up work for the day, Bob picked me up for our second date and we walked through the lobby of my building. Voting signs for Toronto’s municipal election were everywhere since my building houses a polling station. “Oh god, did you have time to vote today?” I asked, worried that he might have been too busy to slip away in between tiling and drywalling or whatever it is that renovators do. “Nah, I don’t vote,” he responded. And I stopped dead. “What do you mean you don’t vote?” I may have shrieked it. “I don’t know anything about the election,” he said. “I don’t know who to vote for, so I never vote.” I moaned aloud. Anyone who doesn’t realize, in this day and age of Donald Trump, gender inequality, wealth inequality, global warming and immigration concerns (and, and, and), that we are in dire trouble and need to do the research and voice our political opinions more than ever, is stupid, uninformed, apathetic or all three. And those aren’t traits that I’m looking for in a partner.
Against my better judgment, we still went for dinner. I mean, he was already there. And because we had fun, I decided to push Bob’s non-voter status out of my mind. After our meal, I invited him up to my place, and as soon as we closed the door he was on top of me, touching my breasts and tugging at my pants. I hadn’t had sex in a couple months (single life, yo), so I went with it. We had sex and it was…fast. And also kind of hurt. And I may have started crying a little bit because he hadn’t seemed to care whether I was experiencing pleasure or pain or was even bored out of my mind. I felt like an object.
That was strike three.
To his credit, he was shocked when I started crying and he genuinely seemed to feel bad. And when he asked why I was so upset, I took a solid 20 minutes to explain to him that I didn’t like feeling like an object, or feeling like he didn’t care too much if I was having a good time. And that maybe it wouldn’t have bothered me so much if I was 21 (I’m now 31) or if we weren’t living in the #MeToo era, but now it’s important to me to have good sex—meaning sex where there’s an intimate connection and it feels good for me, too.
Perhaps if I was 21, I would have avoided talking about my discomfort at all costs, kissed him goodbye and ghosted. But now, I feel a responsibility to educate the sexist, misogynistic or simply ill-informed men that I encounter. Should I have to educate them? No. Should any woman have to make it her responsibility to make sure men are informed? No. But we’re the ones in the trenches with these bozos and if we don’t take it upon ourselves to teach them a lesson or two, no one else will. Because in the same way that every vote counts, every dude with his head in the sand is holding us back from equality. So I can’t keep my mouth shut anymore. I don’t care if he thinks I’m a harpy. I have to tell him the story from my point of view. At this point it doesn’t feel personal; it feels political.
But now, I feel a responsibility to educate the sexist, misogynistic or simply ill-informed men that I encounter. Should I have to educate them? No. Should any woman have to make it her responsibility to make sure men are informed? No. But we’re the ones in the trenches with these bozos and if we don’t take it upon ourselves to teach them a lesson or two, no one else will.
So we talked and he apologized several times. And the next day he texted me to tell me he’d been thinking a lot about what happened and that he was sorry for following his dick and not his head. I forgave him, and I think if we had sex again, it would probably be a lot better because he seemed to understand what was missing from our encounter.
But I can’t help but feel that maybe his head is part of the problem and all of these things—that he’s always believed men deserve more money than women, that he prioritizes his sexual pleasure over mine and that he doesn’t think voting is crucial—are linked. He doesn’t care about gender equality because he’s never had to; his world looks just fine.
After all that, we’re on fine terms. I don’t need more enemies, thank you very much. And I truly hope I gave him something to think about and that he’ll reconsider his stance on gender and take real good care of the next woman he sleeps with. But that woman isn’t going to be me. And part of me knew it the second he told me he doesn’t vote.